These are best served as part of a selection of Middle Eastern mezze with as little embellishment as possible, except for lemon wedges, labneh to dip and olives to nibble on the side. Once fried, these halloumi fries could also be added to a salad or mixed into a bowl of whole cooked grains and roasted vegetables.
Fill a large pan one-third full of oil or use a deep-fat fryer or electric skillet. Heat the oil to 350°F, testing with a deep-fry thermometer.
Cut the cheese into 1/2-inch wide strips and combine the flour and za'atar in a shallow bowl.
Working in batches, coat the cheese strips in the flour mixture. Carefully place 6-8 pieces into the hot oil and fry until golden, 3-4 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Repeat until all the halloumi has been fried.
Mound the "fries" on a serving plate, and scatter with some of the za'atar spice and red chile flakes. Serve with lemon wedges and labneh for dipping, with a handful of black oil-cured olives and some flatbread on the side.